Brent Spar dismantling begins

The re-use of the infamous Brent Spar oil storage buoy began in Norway on Wednesday 25 November. The Spar will now be turned into a quay extension at Mekjarvik, near Stavanger.

Shell says it concluded this was the Best Practicable Environmental Option. The decision was based on detailed analyses of the Short List proposals both by Shell and by the independent Norwegian foundation DNV, and was “informed by the views and values gathered during two years of Brent Spar Dialogue”.

The Stavanger Port Authority is planning the quay extension at Mekjarvik with or without Brent Spar, to provide new Roll-On/Roll-Off ferry facilities from the summer of 1999. But using slices of the Spar’s hull will save both money and energy that would otherwise have been spent in new steel construction.

Wood-GMC will raise the Spar vertically in the water by building a lifting cradle, placing it underneath the Spar, and connecting it by cables to jacks fixed on board special very heavy barges. Jacking the cables upwards will raise the Spar in its vertical position, so that its hull can be cut into ‘rings’ for transport by barge.

After careful cleaning, the rings will be placed in the sea beside the existing quay at Mekjarvik, filled with ballast, and the construction of the quay extension will be completed by a concrete slab on top. The Spar’s topsides, its smaller living and operations module, will be removed and scrapped onshore at a Norwegian yard.

“This is a great success for the protection of the oceans and the people who supported our protests against the dumping,” said Greenpeace offshore expert Jan Rispens on site in Norway. “This is the best solution in any respect: it protects the oceans, it creates jobs and reuses the material.”

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